Her email is copied below with specific language highlighted in red by us, but we want to emphasize the following 2 statements in it:
"We are so pleased to confirm that HMS will be open for classes tomorrow, Tuesday, February 4. The building has been cleared for students and staff following a fire inspection, inspection by the Regional Office of Education, and inspection by architects from Healy, Bender & Associates. Additionally, reports from Integrity Environmental Services on sampling conducted January 31, February 1, and February 3 indicate the school is safe for occupancy."
"Again, all inspections confirm the building is safe for student and staff use. "
Anyone reading Dr. Schuster's email would conclude that every room in the building has been cleared. There is no mention of any exception. Her letter confirms what sources notified bloggers of earlier today, that there were rooms that tested positive for mold even after weeks of being de-molded and cleaned multiple times. According to Dr. Schuster's email, those rooms were re-cleaned in the last two days and retested.
Her emails suggests that those rooms were retested and ALL have now been cleared. What she fails to inform parents of is that one room that tested negative in the previous test -- Room 200 -- but was retested today has come back positive. And she also fails to tell us that Integrity Environmental Services has unequivocally recommended that the room should be restricted from entry by all non environmental professionals and maintenance personnel until additional cleaning or replacement of flex duct portions can't be completed.
We have reviewed both Re-occupancy reports prepared by Integrity. These reports are available on the D181 website. Part of the retesting the took place today required duct system supply surface swab samples to be taken. According to the last page of the second report, issued today, February 3:
"Five (5) supplemental surface swab samples were collected and analyzed. Four (4) samples exhibited either no detection of mold spores or only traces of mold spores at levels far below the acceptable levels.
The remaining sample exhibited the presence of a mold spore type that still warrants additional cleaning and anti-microbial treatment:
-- Room 200 Stachybotrys, "Rare" concentration.
As Stachybotrys was not detected within the subject room on the previously collected air sample, it is our recommendation that all personnel other than environmental professionals and maintenance personnel be restricted from entering this room until additional cleaning of, or replacement of the "flex duct" portions can be completed."
So, it appears that it is not true that the entire building has been cleared for re-occupancy starting tomorrow. Room 200 should be restricted from teachers and students until the black mold is eradicated. That is the recommendation of the testing company. Does Dr. Schuster plan to ignore this recommendation? Why didn't she tell the parents and community about this finding and recommendation in the report from Integrity.
While her email refers everyone to the two reports prepared by Integrity, it should not be the job of each individual parent to sit down and read every line of the report to see if there is information that the superintendent is withholding. Findings such as the one Integrity issued recommending restrictions of even one classroom should have been brought to everyone's attention by Dr. Schuster. We guess that the last questions we will pose tonight are:
- Who teaches in Room 200?
- How many students will be displaced starting tomorrow from that classroom because it has not been cleared?
- When will the Board of Education finally start holding Dr. Schuster accountable for not telling the full story in her celebratory emails to the community?
Email from Dr. Schuster:
"February 3, 2014
Dear District 181 Community,
At tonight’s Open House at Hinsdale Middle School, we were very happy to greet families and staff who came to see the amazing amount of work that has been completed.
We are so pleased to confirm that HMS will be open for classes tomorrow, Tuesday, February 4. The building has been cleared for students and staff following a fire inspection, inspection by the Regional Office of Education, and inspection by architects from Healy, Bender & Associates. Additionally, reports from Integrity Environmental Services on sampling conducted January 31, February 1, and February 3 indicate the school is safe for occupancy.
The reports from Integrity have been posted on the HMS Facility Updates webpage. To clarify the information contained in Integrity’s initial report, a small number of rooms / areas were listed as having “rare” or “low” concentrations of two types of mold - Stachybotrys and Aspergillus/Penicillium- and one area showed a “moderate” level of a third type of mold - Chaetomium. Those areas were immediately cleaned again by SERVPRO and then re-tested by Integrity. Following the second series of samples in those rooms, all areas were cleared. (The supplemental report with these findings has also been posted.)
Again, all inspections confirm the building is safe for student and staff use. We will send an update tomorrow after classes resume to share any new information and discuss next steps to address the building’s long-term needs.
We look forward to welcoming HMS students and staff in the building tomorrow!
Dr. Renée Schuster